Steelworkers welcome inquiry in Crown Holdings strike

Inquiry commission to examine 18-month dispute
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 03/17/2015

The Ontario government appointed an Industrial Inquiry Commission into the 18-month labour dispute between the United Steelworkers (USW) and Crown Holdings.

Employees at the company’s Toronto facility went on strike on Sept. 6, 2013, after the employer called for a two-tier wage schedule, the removal of a cost-of-living allowance and minimal wage increases.

Morton Mitchnick was appointed to conduct an inquiry and facilitate a resolution to the dispute. Mitchnick will be responsible for examining the relationship between the parties, identifying key issues in the dispute, investigating the dispute’s underlying causes and assessing prospects of settlement.

Following the inquiry, Mitchnick will report back to the province within 14 days and advise on next steps.

“Crown has demanded concessions even though it is profitable and Crown does not want to allow all striking employees to return to work,” said USW Ontario director Marty Warren. “This is unacceptable in Ontario and we hope that the commission leads Crown to finally understand that.”

USW Local 9176 represents more than 130 employees at the plant. According to the union, Crown has refused to negotiate a fair settlement and has instead recruited replacement workers in an effort to prolong the dispute and ultimately break the strike.

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